In our never ending quest to raise kids who aren’t ungrateful little jokers we did something else this year on their birthday that was a little different.
I will tell you what we did in just a second but first, I have to tell you why. Our culture, in my opinion, feeds into the natural myopia and narcism that we are born with. We as parents have to fight the onslaught of self gratification and selfishness that our culture preaches and throws at us. Basically, our kids need to learn that life is not about them and does not revolve around them, its about Jesus and his purposes and making him known.
Our boys birthdays are only 4 days apart so in these younger years we have celebrated their birthdays together. We wanted to teach our boys that there are real problems around the world and that lots of little kids don’t have any toys and many don’t have any homes.
Instead of having everyone bring presents, we thought it would be neat for them to bring a cash donation and we would give it to the boys “brother” that we have sponsored through Compassion. We found a little boy that was the exact same age, to the day, of our oldest son Aiden. He lives in Rwanda and we call him I.T. His name is really hard to pronounce and so instead of butchering it like ignorant Americans, we gave him a cool nickname, I.T.
So through their birthday, their friends brought around $160 to give to the boys. They then have the privilege of giving ALL that money to I.T. and help him have a better life. It was a great way to teach the boys generosity. It helps instill gratitude because they realize they have been blessed with so much and so many people have so much less than us so we want to give what we have away. It is also a great way to connect with other families and show them that we are a little different, in a very non-weird way. We value certain things as a family that we want to instill into our children and we hope and pray that it gives us the chance and opportunity to sow a seed and be able to share the gospel with them later.
Before you think I’m a bad parent and I don’t get my kids gifts, we let the family give gifts and the friends help out I.T. Our goal and prayer for our kids is to have each one of them have a corresponding “sibling” that we sponsor through Compassion as they get older and that every year their birthday parties will be about giving away not getting on their own volition.
P.S. (Its also a great way of keeping the house free of a bunch of junk and toys they will never play with:)